Nawaz Sharif set to lead the PML-N yet again

Nawaz Sharif set to lead the PML-N yet again


Central Working Committee nominates him as acting president

  • Party supremo in turn makes the younger Sharif to hold the office temporarily
  • Shehbaz asked to serve acting president till General Council meets on May 28
  • The move will reverse the fallout of a Supreme Court judgment passed by the then chief justice Saqib Nisar in Feb 2018
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LAHORE (Dunya News/Web Desk) – In a major development, the PML-N on Saturday nominated former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif as the acting party president, years after he was deprived of the position through Supreme Court decision – a by-product of his disqualification and sentencing under the infamous Panama Papers case. 

Nawaz has since then served as PML-N supremo – an office created to accommodate the party founder. His younger brother Prime Minister Shehbaz was elected as the PML-N president in March 2018. 

However, Shehbaz resigned from the post last week, as there has been a growing consensus in PML-N that the government and party offices must be separated and Nawaz is the right person to lead the affairs.

But the meeting later unanimously nominated Shehbaz as the acting president till May 28 on the insistence of Nawaz and appointed Rana Sanaullah – PML-N Punjab chapter president – as the chief election commissioner for party polls. 

It was in February 2018 that a Supreme Court bench headed by the then chief justice Saqib Nisar had ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party. 

The Supreme Court was hearing different petition against the Election Act 2017 which had enabled Nawaz to be re-elected as the PML-N president after he was disqualified from holding any public office by a five-member Supreme Court bench – thus bringing his third term in office to a premature end just like the previous ones. 

However, the Supreme Court last year overturned his disqualification, paving the way for him to contest the Feb 8 elections and launch a bid to secure a record fourth term as prime minister, which failed after the people opted for a split mandate.

Nawaz decided against entering the Prime Minister’s House again because he wanted a clear mandate – at least a clear majority – and thus allowed Shehbaz to lead a coalition government yet again, just like he did after ouster of PTI founder thanks to a no-confidence motion in April 2022.

On Saturday, the PML-N Central Working Committee (CWC) during a meeting at the party’s Model Town headquarters in Lahore declared the former premier as the acting president after Shehbaz and Ahsan Iqbal nominated him for the office. Later, Maryam Nawaz, Ishaq Dar, Pervaiz Rashid, Rana Sanaullah and other leaders endorsed the move.

It would be followed by the PML-N General Council meeting on May 28 for formal approval – a date selected carefully as the day is celebrated as Youm-e-Takbeer to mark the historic nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan in 1998 when Nawaz was serving as prime minister in his second stint.

After the meeting, Malik Sailful Malook Khokhar, who is the PML-N Lahore president, said the party members on May 28 would get Nawaz elected once again to lead the party.

Similar views were expressed by Federal Minister Musadik Malik who said Nawaz was going to lead the PML-N and Shehbaz had been made acting president to follow the process.